Beermen renew rivalry with KaTropa

By: Inquirer August 01,2017 - 10:18 PM

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – KIA vs Barangay Ginebra
7 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs San Miguel Beer

Grand Slam–seeking San Miguel Beer is off to what coach Leo Austria said was its best conference start after a championship.

The Beermen hope to keep Austria smiling when they slug it out with TNT KaTropa, the very same side they ripped in the last conference, as the two traditional powerhouses part ways in the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, and both the Beermen and the Texters will be picking up the intensity as they clash for the first time since San Miguel posted a 4–2 ripping in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals just more than a month back.

After a 118–93 win over shorthanded Blackwater last week, Austria was able to say something he never had a chance to after five championships in less than three seasons as coach of the Beermen.

“I think this is our best start (coming off a championship),” Austria had said after the win off Blackwater. “I’m so proud of my players (because) despite the long break, they were very sharp.”

There is a lot riding on how the Beermen perform — and finish — in this conference as the league’s sixth Triple Crown sweep is well within reach. It will also be the second Grand Slam for the franchise, if ever, and with a solid local core and management support, everyone’s expecting them to go all the way.

Except for everyone else in the field, TNT being no exception.

Jason Castro and RR Pogoy, who will see action for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Asia, and Troy Rosario, who will be suiting up in the Southeast Asian Games, are all going to play for the Texters to be in full force.

June Mar Fajardo, meanwhile, will continue to lead the Beermen as he can still come up with a dominant conference and hopefully salvage a fourth straight MVP.

Fajardo still remains to be the most dominant big man in the league, and in an import-laden conference like this one where he can still dwarf all reinforcements, the 6-foot-10 cornerstone will still be the barometer on how deep San Miguel Beer will go.

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TAGS: beermen, Katropa, renew, rivalry

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